Pompeo Admits Knowledge Of IG's Investigation

Clay Curtis
May 21, 2020

Menendez and Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of NY, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have initiated an investigation into Linick's firing.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday recent treatment of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists made it more hard to assess that the territory remains highly autonomous from China, a requirement for the special treatment it enjoys under American law.

Pompeo conflated the two investigations as he bitterly rejected the idea that the inspector general's firing was in retaliation for the investigations, which were ongoing at the time of Linick's ouster.

Allegations to that effect are "patently false", he said.

Menendez responded by saying Pompeo's use of "diversion tactics by attempting to smear me is as predictable as it is shameful".

U.S. -China tensions have spiked in recent weeks, with Pompeo and President Donald Trump slamming Beijing's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, in which the United States has been hardest hit.

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"The president has the unilateral right to choose who he wants to be his inspector general at every agency in the federal government", Mike Pompeo told reporters Wednesday at the State Department.

Linick, according to reports, was investigating Pompeo for tasking staff to do personal errands such as walk his dog and pick up dry cleaning, and also for potentially subverting Congress by authorizing arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

When asked by a reporter for examples to support that statement, Pompeo replied: "Unlike others, I don't talk about personnel matters". Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of the first lawmakers to raise concerns about Linick's firing.

The President, at Secretary Pompeo's request, fired the State Department's Inspector General for no apparent reason at the same time the Inspector General was investigating the Secretary. Questions over possible misuse of taxpayer funds by Mr. Pompeo, including on frequent trips aboard department aircraft to his adopted home state, Kansas, have dogged the secretary for more than a year.

"I don't get my ethics advice from Sen".

Mr. Pompeo said he usually did not become aware of inspector general reports until a few days before they were released publicly. He also played a minor role in the Ukraine impeachment investigation into Trump. Menendez was indeed prosecuted on corruption charges back in 2015, though the case against him was dropped in 2018.

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